Samsung secures livestream partnerships to solidify place in VR industry

The firm's bid to strengthen its hold in the virtual reality market now includes live action sports and music streaming.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Samsung has unveiled new partnerships with UFC, X-Games and Live Nation in a bid to lure consumers to the firm's virtual reality product with a set of live stream events.

Unveiled on Tuesday, the South Korean electronics giant said VR Live Pass, a streaming service on Gear VR, will bring users "closer to the biggest live action events around the world" through immersive streaming of popular events.

"Samsung continues to push the boundaries and lead the way in high-resolution VR entertainment, bringing users closer than ever to their favorite music artists or watching the world's best extreme athletes doing their tricks for a breathtaking, true-to-life experience," the company claims.

The live broadcasts will begin in June and will include:

  • UFC 212: ALDO vs. HOLLOWAY, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 3, 2017: The fight will be streamed in VR in what is the first time in UFC records. Samsung says viewers can stream the event in a 360-degree live stream and will also have access to pre-event and post-show highlights of the battle between UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and interim UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway.
  • X Games Minneapolis, US July 13 - 16, 2017: Gear VR users will be able to experience the X Games through their headsets and follow the progress of BMX riders and skaters including Jimmy Wilkins, Chad Kerley and Jagger Eaton.
  • Live Music Concert with International Artist, US August, 2017: The Live Nation event, including a number of live acts, will be streamed.

The prospect of enjoying a more immersive experience from watching these events but not having to leave the sofa is a tempting one, but the partnerships mean more than that.

Virtual reality headsets are yet to become a commonplace household item in the West, but by establishing partnerships with companies that run popular live events, Samsung has the chance to acquire exclusive content which could sway future consumer purchase decisions and generate additional revenue for the company.

See also: Samsung confirms Galaxy S8 red display issue

"We are excited to offer Samsung Gear VR users the opportunity to experience their favorite live music and sporting events through our industry-leading VR ecosystem," said Younghee Lee, CMO and executive vice president of Samsung. "Partnering with these companies to expand our VR services helps us to open up a new gateway of opportunities for fans and demonstrate our commitment to delivering experiences that make the seemingly impossible, possible."

Samsung could do with some positive news as of late. The company made a series of executive reshuffles earlier this year as a potential stop-gap measure as many members of the board, including Samsung Group's head and vice chairman Jay Y. Lee remains in custody over corporate bribery claims.

This week, the electronics giant also announced the launch of new residential ESS batteries, usually used in tandem with solar panels.

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